Q: I need your help, I can’t seem to get over my cheating ex. We were together for 2 years, but broke up about 2 months ago when I caught him cheating. I know I shouldn’t, but I do still love him. I feel embarrassed to admit that and wish I didn’t, but I just can’t get over him. I just want to move on with my life and be happy. He moved on already with the girl he got caught cheating with. Clearly they were together the whole time I was just too stupid to see that. I saw the signs, but stayed with him when he’d tell me it was all in my head. He hurt me again and again and I let him and I’m still letting him hurt me because I’m the one sitting here crying over him, while he is moving on with his life. I need help, I want to know how to get through this.
A: I am so, so sorry you’re going through this! Breakups are difficult enough, but when you realize that someone you trusted was unfaithful, it adds a whole other layer of pain. Be patient with yourself through this grieving period. As much as this seems very personal, his cheating had nothing to do with you. You could have been the most perfect girlfriend on the planet and a cheater will still cheat. (I mean come on, Jay Z cheated on Queen Bey!) It’s about the person committing the cheating. He may have felt a void in himself that he is trying to fill, he may just be selfish and a disingenuous person or maybe he just isn’t ready to commit to a relationship. Eeek. Whatever his reasons were, this is a red flag he is not exactly great boyfriend material.
As much as you’re hating what he did to you, a part of you is still attached emotionally to him. That’s gonna take some time and work on your part to get through it. It sounds like the relationship was toxic if he was lying to you and cheating. This next question is not easy to face and will take time to reflect on. But in order to move on to a healthier relationship, you have to understand why you allowed yourself to be in an unhealthy relationship in the first place.
Why did you ignore the blatant signs he was being unfaithful and not listen to your gut?
You’re definitely not alone. A lot of times when we’re dependent on a relationship, we will justify any bad behaviors so we don’t have to see the truth. Usually this happens when we’re not strong enough to walk away. We may not want to be alone, we may not feel good about ourselves or we may have an unhealthy attachment to our significant other.
Use this experience as a life lesson, so that you don’t repeat it. The truth is that a lot of people who don’t learn from a failed, toxic relationship will end up attracting the same type of person over and over. They end up in the same type of problem, just with a new person.
I would suggest you use this time to do you. Work on your self esteem by talking to a counselor, start feeding your mind with positive self talk and reaffirming affirmations, schedule in time each day for your hobbies, passions or things that give you a sense of accomplishment. There are so many amazing qualities and interests that define you, focus on discovering and fostering them! So, go call up a girlfriend, volunteer, join a yoga studio, do some journaling and begin to move on with your life, one step at time. And yes, you will have to fake it ’til you make it. But one day-in the near future- you’ll completely forget about what you were running away from because you’ll be walking into something amazing. Sending you love, girl!